Somewhere along the line in the last decade, the greater entertainment industry had a realization: these comic book things are ripe for other mediums! Movies, TV shows, and video games began popping up in increased frequency. This year, at E3 2010 in Los Angeles, comic book games, some expected, some perhaps a bit surprising, were represented in full force.
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World Ubisoft
This game is just stupid awesome. That's the only thing that could be said after spending some solid hands-on time playing this side-scrolling beat-em-up. Everything about this screams retro, from blocky graphics to chiptune music. Power-ups, special moves, group attacks, weapons, and boss battles are all here, and all set up the way you'd expect from a spiritual successor to old-school franchises like Streets of Rage and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. A variety of characters from the comic (and upcoming feature film) are playable, each with unique attacks. The humor from the books is ever-present, and some RPG elements of stats and leveling up are thrown in for that extra bit of customization. The game, a downloadable title, will be a timed exclusive coming to PSN first, then Xbox 360. It will also be a time black hole as it sucks you in and rocks you like Sex Bob-omb.
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions Activision
We weren't able to go hands-on with this one just yet, but did see extended gameplay sequences in all three of the currently announced dimensions: Amazing, Noir, and 2099. The gameplay for each is mapped to the same set of buttons, but clearly changes significantly in each world. With 12 levels and bosses, plus an as-yet-unrevealed 13th "big bad," the game is certainly ambitious in scope. In addition to Noir Hammerhead, we heard about Noir Norman Osborn, saw Kraven fight in the Amazing world, powered up by a fragment of the mysterious tablet that causes these inter-world travels, saw tip-toeing stealth, high-speed flight, and webbing being used to slam boulders into the face of evil. With the similar solid core gameplay used in prior games, a story by Amazing Spider-Man comic book writer Dan Slott, and tons of new weapons, locales, and even styles of play, this looks like it could've Spider-Man in his many forms a game that will catch gamers just like flies.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Playable. Guy. Gardner. Not much else needs to be said about this game, set in the world already shared by the TV show and kid-oriented comic of the same name. Still, it's easy to go on. Batman teams up with a different hero in each of the "episodes," just like on the show. These are all-original episodes from the writing staff handling the weekly televised adventures, so the tone, humor, and action translates almost perfectly. Additional heroes can be called in as assists, similar to those in older side-scrollers like X-Men on the Sega Genesis or Maximum Carnage on that same 16-bit generation. The game allows 2 player co-op on the Nintendo Wii, and a 3rd can jump into the mix with interconnectivity with the Nintendo DS handheld system. That third player flies in as the mischievous Bat-Mite, who can help or hinder the two main player's progress, depending on his mood. Everyone has gadgets or special abilities, but only Guy can actively sustain constructs made of his green light… he even recharges from his own power battery to give himself a boost.
And yes, when he recharges, he says the oath.
Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 Capcom
Sometimes as a gamer, you have a great experience with a franchise, and you want nothing more than to see it get even better. Whether it's new features, more characters, or even just a polished presentation, that desire for more is there. If it takes awhile for a new edition to come out, then those desires, expectations, and anticipation just grow more by the day. Luckily, in the case of Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, those are all met. Newcomers like Deadpool and Dante are ridiculously fun to play. New unbreakable combos will make even those who fancy themselves experts at the MvC series weep in defeat. The look is gorgeous, the controls, even early on, are tight and responsive, the sound is stronger than any other fighter Capcom has put out, and the sheer thrill of teaming Chris Redfield alongside Iron Man or slamming Captain America's shield in Morrigan's face is palpable. Fans of the series, or of either stable of characters, are going to have one big reason to smile in Spring 2011.
DC Universe Online Sony Online Entertainment
At times it feels like this game has been in development forever. That's really because of a couple things SOE decided to do; 1, they announced it very early, and 2, they've been making it playable since very early in development. With the November 2, 2010 release date now looming, the latest build showed a game of polish, action, and new features that will sometimes make you forget you're playing an MMO. While no pricing plans were revealed yet, the game's animations, movement, attacking, action; they've all been drastically improved since the last build. New features to further immerse the player were revealed as well. Jim Lee-drawn comic sequences will help tell the backstory of many characters, especially bosses and minibosses. Your created character will also choose a mentor, be it hero or villain. When you reach a level of importance and trust with them, they'll provide you with boosts and even an actual customized armor that combines your look with their emblem, and provides further special boosts. Batman, Superman, Metallo, and Black Adam armors were all seen in the demo. For players that want the look they designed but still want to add stat-boosting armors and clothing, when you add a piece, you have the choice to make your appearance change to fit the item or stay the same, still receiving the boost. DCUO, with rich customization, fast-paced action, and iconic locations and characters involved in your every move, looks like it will bring a whole lot of people into the DCU this fall.
Marvel Super Hero Squad Online Gazillion Entertainment
The first of two MMOs Gazillion is making for Marvel, Super Hero Squad Online is not going to be what people expect initially, but will make gamers of all ages laugh and smile while playing it. The game exists in the same general universe as the animated series, comic book, and toy line. Gazillion can (and has already) put in characters that haven't appeared in those other incarnations, giving them incredible freedom. Being browser-based, the game will have a simultaneous launch on Mac and PC. The game runs on the Unity engine; while only the Mac and WIndows versions have been confirmed, the Unity engine also runs on the iPad and the Nintendo Wii, two possible platforms for easy expansion of the online action game. While this game is made with the target audience of the kids who watch the show in mind, the character collecting, simple but addictive fighting controls, and the humor infused into nearly every aspect of the game makes it something that older fans will not just enjoy, but find themselves jumping into even when their kids aren't around. Older fans will also see some bonuses that their younger counterparts may not notice/care about as much. For instance, if 4 people (the maximum for online co-op play in missions) want to all play as Spider-Man, then they'll play as 4 different versions of the character. His other costumes, if appropriate, will even have different attacks. While no specific outfits were confirmed yet, the developers on hand said "if you can think of it, and how it would be cool to see it in this game, chances are we've thought of that too." At any rate, this will be a good first step for a Marvel MMO for adults waiting on the not-officially-titled "Marvel Universe" Gazillion also has on the way.
Which comic book game from E3 2010 are you most excited to play?